I know I promised my next adventure would be sweet, but I straight up lied. I would say I’m sorry, but that would be another lie and two wrongs don’t make a right.
These ones had been on my radar for a while, to the extent where I had bought the ingredients ahead of time. So, naturally, I instructed my boyfriend that we would not be going for brunch because I would be preparing these delights as an alternative. This was at 11am on a Saturday, and (to my credit) I did advise that we would be looking at more of a lunch offering than breakfast. He accepted this and got back to living a life outside of this blog.
At 11:10am, after gleefully throwing dry ingredients together I discovered a few spanners..the milk was off, I didn’t have enough flour, there was no butter, we had thrown the dill out and we had nowhere near enough cheese. One of my many stupid vanities is priding myself on an encyclopaedic knowledge of the state of my pantry…in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary I had to drag myself to the supermarket. I say drag, but I cherish the supermarket and will take any opportunity to go there.
Finally, at 11:40 we were back on track and the dough was off for its first prove. It was at this time I read the recipe a little more closely and discovered that there was actually a sneaky second prove. (Clearly, I had learned nothing from my recipe misreads in the focaccia.) An additional two hours that I hadn’t factored in when I declared that these would be for lunch. Nothing says “breakfast bun” like taking something out of the oven at 4pm.
Now is the time to note that it wouldn’t have mattered what time of day I prepared these, they were heavenly. Fresh out of the oven there are few things I’ve made that were more delicious. Cheese, onion & dill are great companions in most scenarios, but add fluffy freshly cooked bread and good luck sticking to gluten free/dairy free/FODMAP diets.
None of this mattered to one boyfriend. He had realised the timing issues at around 2pm and had been placated with the third and final (and, for what it’s worth, best) round of the Turkish pide. Come the moment of truth he was actually still quite full, apparently. So full that he did not partake in a single one of the irresistible fresh buns, even though they sat tantalisingly on the table and smelled like the stuff of dreams. Fortunately for my ego we had friends over. One of these was the absolute ideal guest for this scenario – not only did he wax lyrical about the quality of the buns, he showed his appreciation by eating with gusto. Thank you Connor. Maitland (boyfriend) eventually realised his window of opportunity was rapidly closing (thank you Connor!) and put two aside for the next day. I whined that they wouldn’t be anywhere near as good. He ignored me. He said they were delicious when he had them for actual breakfast the next morning, but as I didn’t test the comparison I guess we will never know.
Cheddar Swirl Breakfast Buns
Not remotely adapted from Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perelman (check out smittenkitchen.com if you haven’t already. It’s amazing. She’s amazing.)
375g plain flour (I substituted about 100g of bread flour due to aforementioned miscalculations. There were no issues.)
1 tsp table salt
Few grinds of black pepper
1 sachet (7g) fast-action dried yeast
55g butter, melted, cooled to lukewarm, plus extra for brushing
1/2 medium grated white onion
170g grated mature cheddar cheese (I used a combo of Mainland vintage and Mersey Valley)
2 tsp finely chopped fresh dill (or more. I can’t say I bothered to measure this)
1/4 tsp table salt (or eyeball a good pinch of flaky sea salt like I did)
Few grinds of black pepper
To make the dough:
Combine the flour, salt, pepper and sugar in the bottom of a large bowl. (Then go to the supermarket to sort out your ingredients?). In a separate bowl, whisk the yeast into the milk until it dissolves. Next pour the yeasty milk and the melted butter into the flour. Mix together with the paddle of an electric mixer, or with a wooden spoon, until a shaggy ball can be formed.
If using a mixer, switch to the dough hook, and knead at low speed for about 6 minutes, or until a smooth and slightly sticky ball is formed. Alternatively, if you are making these by hand (like an old fashioned boss) then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead it for about 8 minutes, until smooth.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rest somewhere nice and warm until it doubles – about 2 hours. You can also chill the dough in the fridge overnight, or up to 3 days, then bring it back to room temperature and pick up where you left off. I certainly could not wait that length of time, but if you’re a better planned and more patient sort then good for you I guess.
Now it’s bun time. Pop the dough out of the bowl onto a well-floured and counter and roll into a 30x40cm rectangle. I use my baking paper box to measure the 30cm side, and I think I’m pretty smart for doing that. Obviously you still need to measure the 40cm side, or eyeball it (guilty). Mix filling ingredients and spread thinly over the rectangle, leaving a 1cm border at the short ends. Roll tightly from one short end to the other – you’ll end up with a 30cm log. Using a sharp serrated knife, carefully cut the log into twelve 2.5cm rolls. Mine were of varying sizes and this wasn’t a big deal.
Line the bottom of two small baking tins (either 23cm round or 20cm square) with baking paper. Alternatively use one 23cm x 32cm tin or, as I did, one 26cm round tin. If using two tins then arrange six rolls in each, otherwise arrange all twelve in your large tin. Try keep an even amount of space between them and then brush the tops with additional melted butter. Cover the tin(s) with plastic wrap and let them rise at room temperature until doubled again, approximately 2 hours. At around the 1.5 hour mark preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the cheese bubbles from their centres and you just can’t wait a second longer. Serve immediately. (Maitland, this is the official instruction from the official cookbook, so you are officially wrong about waiting to eat them the next day. Official.)